CONFLICT: Opinions are divided over how we should treat wild dogs.
CONFLICT: Opinions are divided over how we should treat wild dogs. Contributed

PETA slams council's proposed 1080 trial

A RECENTLY released report from Gladstone Regional Council on a planned 1080 meat trial has prompted a scathing response from PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

PETA Australia special projects coordinator Desmond Bellamy said the council's decision to provide 1080-impregnated meat to landholders was "shocking" and "cruel".

Mr Bellamy claimed an RSPCA report on 1080 found that "poisoned animals foam at the mouth, vomit, lose control of their bowels, struggle to breathe and become weak or partially paralysed."

In the council's report, Free 1080 Meat Baiting Trial Project, the council states it will provide free 1080 impregnated meat to all landholders in the Gladstone region in March or April next year with the aim of controlling wild dogs.

The council is required, under a memorandum of understanding with the State Government, to provide free 1080 to landholders twice a year but generally landholders have been required to provide the meat.

The provision of the free meat is a new initiative in response to a reduction in landholder participation rates in baiting programs identified by the council.

Mr Bellamy said "no living being should intentionally be made to suffer such a slow and agonising death".

"A drover from Queensland reportedly (saw) his working dogs "screaming with pain" after they accidentally ingested 1080," he said.

A council spokesperson said baiting programs using 1080 were "currently the most effective and species selective option for broad scale reduction of large pest populations of wild dogs".

"Landholder participation in all 1080 programs facilitated by council ... is voluntary," they said.


1st Place Feral Photos 2014_Daniel Briggs Wild Dog Pups. Photo Daniel Briggs_Invasive Animals CRC
Wild dogs breed one to two times per year and have litters of between one and 10 pups with a mean litter size of approximately five pups. *Victorian Government

The spokesperson said the council provided landholders with a "variety of services" beyond 1080 baiting to ensure they complied with the Biosecurity Act in regards to wild dog control.

"Installation of exclusion fencing by landholders ... is an option encouraged by council, in addition to trapping and containment," they said.

"Council provides free advice to landholders and all landholders are encouraged to contact us to discuss the variety of options and assistance available for the control of wild dogs on their property."

Kat Peck and her husband David own a 750 acre property in the hills about 20km west of Mount Larcom.

She said she supported the council's decision to provide the 1080 laced meat to landholders.

"That'd be amazing, that'd be worth my effort," she said.

"I know a lot of people would utilise it more.

"I can't afford to lose a $500 calf, to kill one of my own to use as bait."


One of the remaining sheep of the herd that was attacked by a wild dog.
Sheep make an easy target for wild dog attacks. Katherine Morris

Mrs Peck said wild dogs were a problem in the area and were the reason she and her husband stopped running sheep.

Two years ago, in a sheep paddock right next to their house, two of their sheep were mauled by wild dogs.

"One sheep was dead and another one still alive, they eat the back end and they like eating their guts out but the sheep was actually still alive," Mrs Peck said.

When asked about whether baiting should be used despite the cruel death claimed by PETA, Mrs Peck said "you've got to do something, it's really bad up our way".

According to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, 1080 is registered for the control of wild dogs, feral pigs, rabbits and foxes and is widely used throughout Australia.